Keeping an eye on the coin-op gaming scene
Japanese startup Meleap has been around for a while – it launched Hado, an augmented-reality game of six-player PVP fireball-flinging, back in 2015. Powering its tech is a combination of AR headset and wrist-mounted motion sensor, enabling players to act out the Ryu power fantasy in (almost) real life. It’s a popular installation piece with its own tournament scene – but with Japan’s arcade industry increasingly embracing virtual reality and its related technologies, the firm is stepping up a gear.
The latest fruit of that endeavour is Hado Shoot, a fourplayer game played on a huge display projected onto a wall by the AR headset. Waves of cutesy mushroom people – a sort of non-threatening chibi take on the enemies that mill about in Dark Souls’ Darkroot Garden – appear and, if not dispatched quickly, will walk out of the screen towards you. Flinging multicoloured projectiles, players compete to see who can dispatch the highest number of fungi within a time limit. Further gentle competition comes from items that appear during play – and, naturally, from the way players can interfere with each other in the real world in order to impair a rival’s score in the virtual one.
While the need to free up a large section of empty wall may be off-putting for many arcade owners, the fact that the game runs on smartphone hardware (it clips into the AR headset) reduces the investment significantly. To date, it’s been largely found away from the arcade, at shopping malls, convention centres and even Tokyo’s Narita airport. But that’s changing, and the tech is also beginning to spread overseas, with appearances at recent VR conferences in the US.
Game HadoShoot Manufacturer Meleap